by Texas Homesteader ~
Canning jars used to be sold in 4-sided cases with cardboard dividers. But they’re now sold in half boxes with no dividers to protect the glass. I don’t want to store my empty jars that way knowing that canning jars clinking together weakens the glass over time.
I came up with a solution that protects the jars as well as simplify storage. See what we did!
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Contacting The Canning Jar Manufacturer About Boxes
New canning jars are now sold in what I consider an incomplete and unacceptable half box shrink-wrapped with plastic. There are no dividers to keep them from clinking together and damaging the glass!
Of course you know I also abhor the fact that there’s yet more unnecessary plastic being forced on me. And I’m wondering how you are supposed to properly and safely store your canning jars in those boxes without dividers?
Although all brands of canning jars seem to be sold this way these days, I reached out to Ball company and asked them about these dang half boxes.
And I also asked what they would suggest to properly store their canning jars. Maybe they could suggest a special box that didn’t cost an arm & a leg?
They replied that Ball sold the canning jar portion of their business to a company named Jardin several years ago.
Humm…. wonder if that’s when they cheapened up the packaging in an effort to make more money for themselves?
More money for the manufacturer yet less efficient for us, the consumer!
So I posed the same question to Jardin and they never even responded to me. Looks like I’m on my own to find a solution.
Finding Boxes For Empty Canning Jar Storage
I did find an *Cardboard Boxes With Dividers online. But you had to buy a certain quantity of each size that you wanted, and they were kinda pricey. And you know pricey doesn’t fly at our Homestead. Let’s put on our thinking caps…
I’m going to need something to store these canning jars I’d bought in the cheap 1/2 boxes with no dividers.
Plus I’d like to keep at least a canner-load quantity of jars a little more accessible so that I don’t have to ask RancherMan to shlep up into the attic each time I want to can something.
Perhaps I can come up with a storage method that would allow a canner load of each size of jar to be stored neatly in our guest bedroom closet. Then if I need more than that I can have RancherMan fetch them from the attic.
Let’s see now, what can we use?
Using Heavy Milk Crates For Canning Jar Storage
We have a few of the super-heavy milk crates (you know, before they started mass producing them in the more flimsy plastic waffle material).
So we thought perhaps they would be perfect to use for this project. They’re easy to grab and carry, yet heavy enough to securely hold those empty jars.
So we brought the milk crates out of the storage shed and measured them. They are the perfect size for quarts, somewhat larger than a perfect fit for pints but we’re gonna make this work!
(Note: DON’T try this with the flimsy lightweight waffle block crates sold in many places these days! If you’re looking for the heavy-duty crates, you can still buy the heavier ones that hold 50 lbs or more *here) I wouldn’t trust those cheap lightweight ones you can buy at discount stores…
So RancherMan brought out some corrugated cardboard pieces he had saved for various uses and marked them to the measurements of the milk crates. He then went into his shop and cut them to size with a utility knife.
Then he came back inside and measured the canning jar spacing & cut notches about halfway down each piece of cardboard. These cardboard pieces will become the dividers.
We assembled the dividers and placed the quart jars into the milk crate. I decided to place the regular mouth jars with the jar opening facing down, but the wide-mouth jars would face up.
In the past I’ve often had to pick up and turn over each jar when looking for either wide or regular mouth jars so storing. This way makes for some quick grab-n-go convenience for canning jar storage. PERFECT!
Customize Cardboard Dividers For Canning Jar Sizes
With the pint jars we had to work it a little differently, adding an outside piece of cardboard to keep all the jars tightly packed. I’ll use that extra space on the exterior of the dividers to store the rings. LOVE IT!
And the pints are the right size to double-stack in the cube. So RancherMan cut a dividing piece of cardboard and TWO sets of jar dividers for those.
OMGosh I’m gonna love this.
Although we have yet another heavy milk crate that we could use for the half pint jars if desired, I usually have a pretty steady stream of clean 1/2 pint jars in my kitchen cabinets since I use them as single-serving jars for my homemade yogurt.
I printed out a label for each crate indicating the contents – whether quart, pint or half-pint jars.
So if I send RancherMan to retrieve jars while I’m preparing the kitchen for canning it will be super easy for him to see the crate that I need. He can just bring the crate to the kitchen for me to wash & prepare the jars.
Easy, Convenient Milk Crate Canning Jar Storage
These heavy milk crates stack neatly & securely in the closet. Quarts on the bottom, pints stacked on top.
Plus as I mentioned before, they’re easy to lift and carry a full canner load of jars into my kitchen.
And since the storage crates are located right here in the guest bedroom I can return the clean empty jars to the closet storage one by one as they’re emptied.
No more asking RancherMan to once again climb back into the attic searching for the correct-sized jar box to return empty jars to the box. Our attic stairs (and RancherMan) are going to LOVE THIS!
How do you store your empty canning jars?
Other ‘Use Whatcha Got’ Ideas
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- All ‘Use Whatcha Got’ Posts
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The milk crates ideal is brillant . I inherited four “jar box ” safe crates from my mother. They are a two piece semi clear white plastic molded form that the jar sits in the bottom and you turn the next form upside down to be the fitted lid. They click together at each side and hold a dozen jars (Quart and pint size). I use small cable ties on each side to ensure they don’t come apart .They work great but are now $16 per two piece set when I looked on line for them. I know the sets I have from mom are now twenty five years old. They still work great after years of being stored on a shelf in the garage until needed. I mainly store fruit, jams ,and dry goods in my jars.
I’ve seen those canning jar safe crates you speak of, and I’m totally jealous of yours! But as you mentioned, they’re pretty pricy now so I had to pass them by & look for alternatives. I love that yours are passed down from your mom, and I love that they’re 25 years old. Enjoy your boxes, they’ll serve you well for years! ~TxH~
I went to the liquor store and got the 24 count, 375 ml vodka boxes with dividers and removed the 2 outside ( length ones) dividers completely and moved one towards the center and it holds 12 quart jars perfectly. The pint I could only find a box that fits 6 jars so far but on a search.
WTG, Linda! I’ve used liquor-store boxes too in the past. If you can find them the right size they work beautifully, and it’s repurposing at it’s finest! ~TxH~
You have already been down the road I started on, I see! 😉
Yes, you still have to buy a minimum of 10. I was willing to make that sacrifice, but when I got to the checkout page, I found that the cheapest shipping option would be $19 via UPS. That was too much to pay for 2 boxes (with 8 leftover to find a use for).
I haven’t bought them yet, but I did find a cardboard box with cardboard dividers at ULine.
They come in 4 sizes (quart, wide-mouth pint, pint, and half-pint). The box holds 12 jars.
It looks to be just the right size. It says the cardboard is sturdy, tested to withstand rough handling.
If I’m disappointed with my order, I will come back and report, but this looks like it will fit the bill for me and maybe others. Here is a link: https://www.uline.com/BL_29/Canning-Jar-Boxes
I found some at Uline too, Jean. But when I looked I’d have to buy a pretty hefty quantity of them (I only needed 1 or 2 at the time). Maybe that’s changed? If you end up getting them let us know what you think – we’d be interested in hearing your thoughts! ~TxH~
I was pleasantly surprised when the jars from Walmart that were shipped to me came in amazing cardboard storage boxes. The picture online doesn’t show them, it shows the regular shrink wrapped half box. I ordered the wide mouth quarts. This was about 2-3 years ago, so it might have changed. You get free shipping above $35, and the jars are about $11.50/dozen.
Hi. I know this is old, but I just wanted to say that if someone needs to get new jars, order them online from Walmart, and they come shipped in these really nice heavy, divided cardboard boxes are that great for storage. Unfortunately, I have a lot of used jars I got too, so I don’t have boxes for those. And the jars get delivered to your door, which is always a plus.
Really? I buy most of my canning jars from WalMart because that’s just what we have out here. I always get the same ole plastic shrink-wrapped half box with no dividers. But it’s always purchased in-store. I wonder if ordering online results in different product packaging? I’m totally gonna check this out – thanks for the tip Martha! ~TxH~
sterilite bin #1924, 15qt size is the perfect size to hold 12 pint jars. you can order them from walmart, about $4.00. case of 10 about $36.00. 12 pints fit just right, so not a lot of jostling. or you could make thin cardboard dividers.
At $20 a crate I don’t see how this is cheaper than the $13 plastic containers designed for storing cans. I guess if you have a bunch lying around you’re good. I’m on the hunt for some sturdy lightproof boxes to store my jars. We’re kinda stuck with having to do an open pantry design in our kitchen because the tiny pantry it came with is deep but narrow and pretty much useless. I was told you shouldn’t stack jars because if one on the bottom isn’t sealed properly, the pressure from the top jars hides it. Also was told they should be in a dark-ish place to help prolong shelf life. If I find something I’ll pass it along. I saw someone on Pinterest that made their own wood crates for jars. That might actually be the easiest route.
And that’s exactly what I did Rachael – used the heavy crates I already had to fill a need. The crates I linked to in this post is for a lot of THREE crates but there’s shipping on top of that. It’s obviously gonna be cheaper to just stumble upon the heavy-duty crates in a store but I linked to an Amazon option for readers who couldn’t find the heavier ones & needed to order them online. But I will say this crate option ended up being a great convenience as well for me because they stacked beautifully inside a closet. My empty-jar storage is actually a hodgepodge of several methods in my typical ‘Use Whatcha Got’ mantra. I have old, old (oooooold) canning-jar boxes from back when they were actually closable boxes with cardboard inserts to separate the jars. And I have just random-sized boxes where I’ve actually fashioned the inserts myself with leftover cardboard. And of course I have these crates which are so convenient for storing a nice supply of empty jars – no need to schlep up into the attic to fetch jars for a batch of homemade jam because they’re right there in the closet. And as that jam is consumed one by one there’s no need to go back into the attic each time to return the empty jars for storage. Of course if I’m canning boatloads and need a larger supply of empty jars at one time I may need to fetch some of my attic-storage jars, but for the most part this method keeps me supplied quickly & easily. I absolutely love the convenience it’s made for me. ~TxH~
Perfect! I end up stacking my jars in a higgeldy piggeldy pile in a box which is hard to sort through and leads to breakages. Not any more! #WasteLessWednesday
It works beautifully for me Rosie and I love that I have a supply of various-sized jars right in my guest bedroom closet. It’s reduced RancherMan’s trips up & down those attic stairs a LOT! ~TxH~
My daughter-in-law cans a lot. I will pass this along! Pinned for later.
Still haven’t done this, but I think it’s brilliant! I hope by now you’ve had a response from Jardin. Love your grandmother’s solutions to storing the rings!
I figured this out too, several years ago. Somehow I came across some heavy duty black cold drink crates (even though I rarely buy cold drinks), they are excellent for the 1/2 pints and also stack-able (the 20oz bottle crates hold 24 -1/2 pints). I put up as much as 5 – 6 cases of jelly every year for gift giving, so my cardboard boxes have never lasted.
Good for you! I’m still hanging on to the good old boxes which get more aged every year, so I’m going to have to resort to doing something creative soon!
Absolutely brilliant!! Good job!!
Interesting post. We just put the clean jars with rings on each jar in an Amazon box where they fit exactly. Sometimes we can’t close the lid of the box. We store ours in the closet in our guest room, also. Works out well. Wish I had the cardboard dividers, but the clean jars in the box do fine. After the jars are filled, they are stored on shelves in the pantry beside the kitchen.
I could never find proper-sized boxes Lottie so they were always jostling around and I know how bad it is to clink your canning jars. We have very similar use/storage methods – I put them on pantry shelves while full, guestroom closet when empty. When my crates are full I accumulate empties and send RancherMan up into the attic with them to store in overflow boxes there but this supply in the guestroom sure keeps him off the attic stairs for the most part. LOL ~TxH~
For the canning rings, I found a hanger that you can use for hanging several pairs of pants. One end of each “hanger” lifts up from a hook. I load my rings on each level and it keeps them neat, organized, and easily retrieved!
That’s an awesome idea Sonia, thanks for sharing. My grandmother used to take a wire hanger (dang, do they even have those anymore?) and unwind it so it would open up. Then she slid her rings onto the wire and closed the loop. Or sometimes she’d take a long strip of cloth since she was a seamstress and thread the cloth through the rings and hook the loop onto a nail in her canning closet. Grandma was the pure vision of “Use Whatcha Got”! ~TxH~
High Five Sonia!
I’m going to do this TODAY!
I love this idea! They make these in different colors too. I think I’ll get one color to be quarts, another color for pints and half pints. I suppose for half pints that one can lay down a flat piece of cardboard on the first layer and get a second layer of them in there. That’s such a cool idea! I was searching for a solution and of all I’ve seen, this is the best!
This is a terrific way to store canning jars. I have been keeping mine in boxes.
I never knew they came in better packaging so I never knew what I was missing out on! Thanks for sharing!
Great solution to the canning jar storage problem! I have all sorts of random boxes storing my jars, I also have my mother’s old canning boxes! Now I need to find some of these plastic milk crates! Thanks for sharing your post on Our simple Homestead Blog Hop, I will be featuring it this week!
– Nancy ( Nancy On The Home Front )
This is a fantastic idea! We have a few heavy duty crates from my husbands old job, but they’re the rectangular ones. Right now, our jars are haphazardly stacked on a garage workbench because I’ve yet to find a good storage solution. I’ll have to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing!!
This is a great idea, Thanks!
Late to the game here, and new to canning so my supply of jars is not large, but why not make the dividers, and then use an empty half box as a lid? they do stack ok, at least here in no earthquake PA.
Also, the lids to parmesean cheese jars fit the regular mouth mason jars.
I use to store all of my canning jars in the garage and then had to trip over things just to get to them. Now, they are stored in an old coal building ( our home sits on property where an old school house was) and bought a metal bookcase to hold my ever increasing supply. The canning rings are in a basket above a kitchen cabinet. I have another basket that holds rings, canning ladle, jar tongs and the like along with a crocheted dish rag just for canning. Love your idea with the milk crate!!
Thanks for sharing your storage methods Marlies. I had begun to obtain various boxes to store my empty jars, but then they were all hodge-podge sized and certainly not well labeled enough that it was obvious from a distance which box RancherMan needed to grab for me while up in the attic. Sure I attempted to label them with a large strip of masking tape but what a visual mess. I’m loving this method of at least storing canner loads of them in easily-discernible milk crates and for the most part I can grab them myself since this supply is not stored in the attic. If I need more he’ll have to hop up there & fetch them for me, but for the most part this will supply me and the crate refills as we consume that canned food. I’m absolutely loving this setup! ~TxH~
Boxes that bananas come in have both a top and a bottom. I have some half gallon cans stored in them. I also bought a plastic can storage from wal-mart, it works good but it holds only 12 cans and cost almost $13.00. That’s why I have only one. Thanks for sharing your tip : )
I saw those plastic boxes for canning jar storage too EllaRuth and wondered about them – they look efficient but expensive. They’re the reason I contacted the manufacturer – how dare them cause the consumer to pay $13 for a storage box to safely store their product because they no longer make their cartons appropriate for storage. But I almost buckled & bought those storage boxes anyway until RancherMan & I wondered if there was a way to use something we already had. Our solution certainly doesn’t safely store all my jars but between the milk crates and the few cases I do have, so far I’m doing OK. I’m soaking up other’s suggestions like yours too – thanks for sharing. ~TxH~
Tammy, what a great idea! Love it!
Brilliant! Love how you even figured out how to store the jars so that you could find what you need in an instant. Just wondering if the boxes that liquor stores use would work too, for those of us who don’t have milk crates. The boxes that wine come in are usually thick cardboard and have the dividers. Just another option…
I’ve attempted the liquor store boxes before Daisy but it’s been difficult finding boxes with the right sized dividers in boxes that weren’t too tall making it difficult to securely stack the cases filled with jars in the attic. I’ve obtained them anyway though & cut the height down to make it work but… Someone suggested maybe mayo boxes from the grocery store & I’m intrigued with that suggestion, but I don’t know how accommodating a grocery store might be to my request since I’m being pretty specific about my request for box size, etc. Perhaps I’ll go in & ask anyway, doesn’t hurt just to see… ~TxH~
I too made my own dividers for my jars. However, I have some plastic totes with lids (which is what I made the dividers to fit). Another thing I like to do is, I save my mayo jar lids (most will fit canning jars) and put them on the jars when I store them, which helps to prevent chipping of the rim of the jars. Most all my jars are vintage, they were passed down to my mom from her mom and now to me. I store them in the shed.
That’s a great idea – our plastic peanut butter jar lids also fit canning jars, perhaps I should use them to top the jars stored in the attic for additional protection. I have some of my grandmother’s jars as well – those jars are precious, aren’t they?? ~TxH~
This is a fantastic solution! The crates would be so much sturdier than just stacking all of my boxes of canning jars (which is what I currently do). Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday!
Great idea! I was just lamenting about the new boxes last week to someone who was in the middle of a move and trying to sort through her canning jars… but she stared at me blankly… A bit too young to understand as she never knew about the prior boxes 😉 Yes, made me feel old (but experienced, *smile*.)… Anyways, I like that these can stack and are sturdy! Thank you for sharing this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!
I didn’t even think of that JES, but some of the newer canners probably don’t even know what canning jars used to be sold in. I have to shake my head and wonder what the manufacturers are thinking – I know they’re after cutting every corner they can to maximize their profits but I hate that it just means more unusable trash coming into my house while I look for another solution to store their product when not in use… Grrrrr ~TxH~
I don’t remember canning jars ever coming in anything but half boxes and I can remember my mom canning when I was a little girl. Maybe my memory is just going. lol. They did used to have the dividers though.
I actually buy store brand canning jars. They come in a full box with the dividers so easy to store them. I like the milk crate idea. That might be a better idea as I sometimes use the boxes to store full jars as well (in the middle of a house renovation which is involving better storage space). The milk crates would help keep me from wondering if the box is full of full jars or empty ones.
Great way to store them!
I think RancherMan’s pretty excited to have a jar-layover location so he doesn’t keep having to haul them up and down the attic stairs. LOL ~TxH~
Love that idea! At the end of summer all of my canning jars are in use, but come December, I have so many clean jars…without a way to properly store them! (I toss those half boxes right away lol). Can’t wait to try this method.
Those half boxes are so useless Dolly. Oh, and I still haven’t heard from Jardin. Apparently their customer complaints go straight to the trash just like their crappy boxes! ~TxH~
I use the wine and spirit boxes with dividers (usually from TJ’s), they come in different sizes. They are tall but…… I just slice the 4 corners of the box with a blade, fold the flaps down and trim as needed for folding into a secure top.
That’s a great storage solution. I’m a big fan of #UseWhatchaGot eco-friendly solutions to everyday problems! ~TxH~
What a clever and cool idea. Way To Go RancherMan!
I like that you use what you have on hand. I was wondering if mayo and food produces especially things that still come in glass jars still use a whole box with dividers between the jars. If they still do you could ask your grocery store to save them for you and ask that they not break them down. I have several cases of jars that I store in the old whole box and I use the 1/2 boxes for some of the newer jars I have, but it would be nice to be able to close the box.
That’s a great idea Cynthia and I love that it involves repurposing something that would just be thrown away (or recycled) from the grocery store. ~TxH~
I like this idea! I store part of my jars in the half box that some 1.5 pint jars came in. I have a cabinet over the clothes dryer where I keep them (box and all.) Quarts, 1.5 pints and pints all trading places as needed in that half box. Then on a shelf above that are the smaller half pints and smaller. The lids and rings are all in an old coffee can. I’m thinking of having my husband make me a couple of small wood boxes to keep the rings in, so I don’t have to dig for them. I would go for you idea in the guest room closet but that space is dedicated to yarn.
Also I contacted Ball jars about the spice jars. You know the little ones with the shaker tops. The shaker tops are a joke. They break. No matter how careful you are, the hinge part breaks. I too was told that they sold that product to Jardin and that I would need to contact them about the product. I too never heard a word back from Jardin. So…. I will just use my little spice jars without those fancy shaker lids. Problem is, if I want to buy more Ball Spice jars, they only come with the plastic shaker lids that break. One more useless piece of plastic trash. :-/
Ugh Judith – what’s happened to customer service these days?? And I shuddered over your last statement of “one more useless piece of plastic trash” Grrrrr… ~TxH~
Where there’s a will (and left over cardboard) there’s a way. – Margy
Howdy, I love that 9 quart jars fit so well in a milk crate. I woulda never thunka that:) How handy and safe for extra jars – we always seem to have extra qts. & not enough pint & a halfs. I put mine right back on the shelf where I got them from. I just pull the full jars of green beans (or whatever) to the front and keep the empties rotated to the back. That was my solution to knowing where all my jars were & having only one space for them. (as opposed to in the shop, under the bed, in an upper cupboard, and so on)
another idea – if near a liquor store – get the inserts from them – they come in all different sizes aready cut!
been using mine for ideas like yours, since I’m in the packing stage (house up for sale) – figured this out when I needed dividers for certain things – I use in many different boxes.
GREAT IDEA on the crates!!! and neatly stored. I agree with you – shame they stopped packing those jars like they used to –